Sunday, October 12, 2008


<--------------Scary huh? Indeed.
I sit here this morning writing this as I listen to the delightful new Joan Osborne CD, Little Wild One. I also have a nice cup of coffee. I have my comfy green hoody on and thick brown socks. I am burning a rich, clove and cinnamon candle. And I just put down the book, The Places That Scare You by Pema Chodron.

These are ingredients for survival.

You see...this October is what I have come to label a "collision month". As a private contractor, I must track no less than five projects at all times - often more. They criss and cross on my day planner, dancing in a frenetic and acrobatic ballet. And this month, these dancers, carrying my energy and time are ever so close to tripping - to leaping in the wrong direction - to falling into each other in a dangerous explosion where my creative blood will drain out altogether, resulting in quite the failure.

--200 students...this means roughly 600 pages of text per week to read and comment on...
--A high school new plays festival with 11 student writers, 3 adult writers, 17 plays, 1 musical, 15 students actors, 15 student crew members, 4 adult opens the 30th. I'm directing it, scoring it, writing vocal arrangements, and doing things like organizing T-shirts and potlucks with parents...
--facing playwriting deadlines...yes, I'm still trying to write...a new play...a play I'm extremely excited about, but I think has no marketing potential, so why do I bother...because I have to get it out...but will it be finished...

Okay, writing the above list is NOT one of the ingredients for survival - it sort of makes me throw up in my mouth a little bit. So back to the ingredients...

Joan Osborne:
She defies genre definition. She is soulful. Her lyrics are truthful. She soothes me. She is, in my opinion, one of the top artists in the past decade. It's a shame her "God is One of Us" song made her famous in the may be her weakest track.

Actually, it's coffee mixed with milk and dark chocolate. And I love it. I give up coffee all the time, going months without it. As someone with anxiety attacks, it seems coffee would be lethal. But actually, caffeine has often helped my anxiety, which indicates a hyperactive disorder - speed helps hyperactivity. But I don't really care about the "whys". It's tasty, and it helps me focus. I will counter it this evening when I have my evening ingredient for survival: Tazo Calm Tea.

Comfy Green Hoody and Thick Brown Socks:
I would live my entire life in loose jeans, tennis shoes, and comfy big hoodies if it were appropriate. It's why I love fall and winter so much. And why I can never again live in a place without months of cool weather. Sorry Texas. I also admit, it covers my chubby gut - the perpetual chubby gut. Only in 1992 was I truly slim. But I was also anorexic. Another story. Anyway...I love my fall comfies. OH - and the socks...well who doesn't like warm fuzzy socks?

Clove and Cinnamon and Candles:
Like a sweet grandma cooking me goodies, this candle brings on the fall with a fragrant kiss. It also covers the smell of mildew and recently poisoned mice in my basement studio.

Pema Chodron:
A Buddhist nun, Sister Chodron has written many books on practical spiritual practices and philosophy. The passage this morning dealt with the ego and our obsession with not changing - with ferociously holding onto the "characters" we have created for ourselves. This hits close to home - I always determine the mask I am to wear for a given project - and I am determined to play that role with perfection...and this is ultimately my downfall. But God, what would happen if I were just myself? Who IS that?

Okay - today I must go write 200 sound cues, read a few hundred pages of student writing, re-stage four short plays, do some laundry, vacuum, mentor a young composer, check in at the theatre on set and lighting load-in, design the back of a T-shirt, go to the gym, and prep for classes that I teach tomorrow...

There may not be enough ingredients in the world this month.


Patrick Wohlmut said...

Hey Sweetie,

Joan Osbourne has a new CD out? I've been wondering for years where she ran off to. She's one of my favorite artists, and I've lamented the fact that she seems to have dropped off the face of the planet. I may have to borrow that CD from you, when you've done with it for a while. And, you know, if that's okay with you.

If you need a break, gimme a call. Carol Ann closes Blackbird today, so I'll have a little more time on my hands. It'd be good to see you, and it sounds like you might need a diversion.

Much Love,

Mead said...

Wow. And you don't even list the upcoming stuff, like your directing and writing for the next PlayGroup escapade.

Chop chop!


This is my attempt at relaxing you psychohomeopathically.

Jeremy said...

I know you're hella busy, but have you ever tried beta blockers or know students/colleagues who've used them for performance anxiety? I get TOO nervous for auditions and performances, so thats why I ask. (On a side note, thanks for the dark chocolate + coffee idea, although I think my Hersheys dark syrup isn't the best kind possibly.)

Mead said...

Time for new blogglings. Your public demands fresh!